Nass

In: Historical Events

Submitted By marechas
Words 10130
Pages 41
CHAPTER 2
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THE RHODESIAN NOVEL
BEFORE AND AFTER 1890

The history of Zimbabwe shows that land was at the centre of the people’s lives (as everywhere else in the world), before the arrival of white people; and at the centre of controversy from the time that the white people colonised the country in 1890. It is still at the centre of controversy as I write towards the end of the 20th Century because land has not been adequately redistributed among the black people.
The history of Zimbabwe before the advent of the 1890 colonial experience also reveals what Chinua Achebe calls his fundamental theme.
This fundamental theme is that “African people did not hear of culture for the first time from Europeans, that their societies were not mindless but frequently had a philosophy of great depth and value and beauty, that they had poetry and, above all, they had dignity. It is this dignity that many African people all but lost during the colonial period and it is this that they must now regain.”

1

The pre-colonial history of Zimbabwe further emphasises that “African societies of the past, with all their imperfections, were not consumers but
2

producers of culture.” This is because although the country was not
1

. Chinua Achebe, “The Role of the Writer in a New Nation” in G.D. Killam, ed.,
African Writers on African Writing (London, Ibadan and Nairobi: Heinemann
Educational Books, 1973) 8.
2
. Ibid 13

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politically organised by one ruler, there were different kingdoms that were under powerful political leaders with a recognisable base and superstructure. This is the land that became the British colony called
Southern Rhodesia, named after Cecil John Rhodes; the land that Beach refers to as “The Plateau.” Its positioning is south of the Zambezi River in Southern Africa and it rises to a great plateau, over…...

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